In the world of exotic sports cars, the Acura NSX is one of the most impressive, offering the performance of an Italian exotic at a fraction of the price. Acura has maximized its investment by bringing NSX drivetrain technology to its RLX sedan and now to the MDX mid-size SUV.
The 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid starts with a 3.0-liter V6 engine and a conventional hybrid electric motor to drive the front wheels. Then the rear wheels are driven by a pair of electric motors, giving you all-wheel-drive without a driveshaft connecting the front and rear wheels. The combination of three electric motors and the gasoline engine is rated at 321 horsepower and 289 pound-feet of torque.
Those are impressive numbers, but the real genius of Acura's Sport Hybrid system is that it can change the behavior of each motor to give you razor-sharp handling. For example, when you start to turn, the motor on the inside rear wheel changes to a generator and puts a little drag on that tire. The electricity generated goes straight to the motor driving the outside wheel, giving it some extra power. You experience this as responsive steering and a vehicle that turns with great confidence.
Inside, the MDX Sport Hybrid is all Acura precision and elegance. You get three rows of seating for six or seven passengers. The available second-row captain's chairs are heated, for a supremely comfortable executive experience, or choose a three-across bench seat for family use. Whatever you choose, you'll enjoy a quiet and luxurious ride.
The MDX Sport Hybrid gets top marks for safety as well. NHTSA gave the Acura five stars, and it's rated as a Top Safety Pick + by the IIHS. Every modern safety enhancement is included, from a collision-mitigating braking system with a head-up warning to lane keeping assist, road departure mitigation, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic monitor, surround-view and multi-view rear cameras, plus a fully integrated stability and traction control system. You also get a fully adaptive cruise control system with low speed following capability.
Technology is also a strong player in the MDX Sport Hybrid, with 3D navigation, AcuraLink real-time traffic information and automatic rerouting. The MDX will read your texts and e-mails to you, and AcuraLink offers full smart phone integration. You have your choice of several audio systems, and they're all good.
Here's the best part: the 2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid starts at $52,935 including destination. That's less than the comparable Lexus RX450h, Infiniti QX60 hybrid, or the BMW X5 Xdrive 40e. If you are looking for a luxury mid-size SUV, why not go electric this year?
2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid
Base price: $52,935
Price as tested: $58,975
Type: Mid-size SUV
Engine: 3.0-liter V6 with 3 Electric Motors (321 hp, 289 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 7-speed twin-clutch automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 26/27
Road noise: Very quiet
Curb weight: 4,471 pounds
Final assembly: Lincoln, Alabama